A huge chunk of Dream Team gaffers will be feeling sick as a parrot this morning.
Last night, Mohamed Salah (£7.7m) scored a hat-trick in the space of just six minutes and 12 seconds as Liverpool decimated Rangers in the second off half of their Champions League encounter in Glasgow.
The Egyptian’s blitz helped the Reds to a comprehensive 7-1 victory and the only people left feeling worse than the Ibrox faithful were the tens of thousands of Dream Team bosses who transferred the 30-year-old out of their XI prior to Game Week 9.
With an ownership of 29.2% Salah remains the sixth-most popular player in the game but he’s also among the individuals who have been ditched the most.
Prior to Game Week 1 only Erling Haaland (£9m) and Kevin De Bruyne (£7.5m) were more widely selected and his popularity was totally justified.
Liverpool’s No11 was the only asset to achieve 300+ points last season, an immense effort considering he also made it to the final of Africa Cup of Nations midway through the campaign.
And truth be told it’s not like he failed to deliver healthy returns prior to his rapid-fire hat-trick at Rangers.
Salah had amassed 46 points from his first 11 outings, a perfectly respectable tally.
While his returns were encouraging enough, many Dream Team managers were less impressed by his performances and Liverpool’s fortunes generally.
Two goals in eight league games also represents a serious drop-off from what we’ve seen in recent years – although it’s easy to take for granted the level he’s maintained for over five years now.
With Haaland plundering points at an obscene rate, Harry Kane (£7.2m) going about his business, and Gabriel Jesus (£5.9m) delivering the goods for table-topping Arsenal, it’s understandable why so many Dream Team managers felt they could do without the costly Salah.
Several mid-range forwards have also excelled with the likes of Aleksandar Mitrovic (£4.5m), Ivan Toney (£4.7m), Marcus Rashford (£4.3m) and Gabriel Martinelli (£3.4m) all providing excellent value for money.
Still, such logic will come as little consolation to those who missed out on Salah’s 23-point haul last night.
It would have been a greater influx had the in-form Roberto Firmino (£3.4m) not swooped the Star Man award.
In fact, the Brazilian No9 has one more point than Salah overall, 70 to 69, and the pair make up the podium of best-performing Dream Team forwards at this stage behind runaway leader Haaland.
The trip to Ibrox may have been Salah’s last chance to impress for many of his backers and when he was initially named on the bench it looked as if another flurry of transfers would reduce his ownership further, especially given Jurgen Klopp’s side host Man City this Sunday.
However, a timely reminder of Salah’s devastating effectiveness will surely encourage his owners to keep the faith.
Liverpool play Nottingham Forest and Leeds in their last two league fixtures of the month, two match-ups that could be very profitable for the three-time Golden Boot winner if he takes heart from his hat-trick going forward.